Recently the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held it’s semi-annual General Conference. This is a 2 day event where leaders, including our prophet, give advice and counsel to … Continue reading 10 Day Social Media Fast Thoughts
So friends I have found a new social media I am enjoying playing with. (I know just when you thought there couldn’t be more there is!). It’s called periscope and I highly recommend downloading the app if you can. It was just made available for android so pretty much anyone with a smartphone can access it. It’s like youtube and blogging had a baby. You are able to broadcast live video to your social media and to the world.
People broadcast all kinds of things and part of the fun of it is watching what other people are doing. Like a few days ago I was watching someone make chicken for their family and they were hilarious.
People are talking about everything on periscope and you can give a video you are watching hearts if you like what they are doing and add comments. I still haven’t mastered the art of talking to people while I periscope but I’ll get there! It’s kind of like skype but broadcast to the world instead of just a 2 way conversation. It’s kind of like the modern day version of people watching but you can watch someone from Spain make lunch from Utah!
It’s an extremely easy app to use. You hook your account to twitter or tumblr, give your video a name and then tap it twice to change from selfie to regular view. When you are done you move your fingers towards the bottom of the phone and it will stop the broadcast. You can also block people if they are being offensive in any way and you can decide if you want your phone to save the broadcasts or not.
I’m still getting the hang of it but I love it because it reminds me of the old days of blogging when it really was just me talking to the world. I didn’t worry as much about having a polished product that is edited and professional. There’s something refreshing about that.
Plus I love seeing creative things people come up with and how cheerful most people are. If you are feeling down go on periscope. I guarantee you there will be someone on there that will be happy. The comments are short so not as mean spirited as youtube can get and there is no thumbs down or dislike. Just hearts!
I really love it and have already done 6 broadcasts- most of them around 3 minutes. Check it out.
If you are on periscope (and if not I highly recommend it!) please follow me @smilingldsgirl and if you have any ideas on what you would like me to persicope on let me know. I’ll probably be doing some this weekend as I am seeing both When Marnie was There and Jurassic World. Plus I am meeting some of my fellow podcast fans for brunch Saturday so I could see us periscoping then (periscoping is different than podcasting because podcasting people can listen repeatedly to the broadcast and usually is edited). This is just a one time live broadcast.
It’s a lot of fun and I think you will really enjoy it. Are any of you on persicope already? Let me know your handles. What do you like to persicope about and what kind of videos do you like to watch?
Recently the internet was all abuzz with the ALS ice bucket challenge. Fortunately people took pity on me with my injury and did not challenge me but I fully support the cause and making a donation to ALS for their non-embryonic stem cell research to try and thwart the horrible illness that is ALS.
Of course with any big movement you have the companion backlash, which to be honest kind of bums me out. The internet is used for bad things so often that why pick apart people who are part of a movement that has done good things and at worst are having fun with water?
But one part of the criticism has kept me wondering for a few weeks. Some have said people are only doing something good so they can look like a good person. While I think that is a pretty cynical attitude to be taking (everyone I know who did it genuinely wanted to have fun and spread awareness, be part of something bigger than yourself) I’m sure it applies to some who just want attention.
But is attention for doing something good, or being a good person, a bad thing? If we look at scriptures it is a little confusing. Jesus did many of his acts of service in large crowds with onlookers and observers noticing his goodness and even becoming converted as a result. As a missionary I wore my calling on my tag and went out proclaiming the gospel. There was no attempt to hide the good message I believed in.
But the scriptures also teach us to not moan over our fastings and sacraments to ‘be seen of men’. Those ‘have their reward’. So we are to proclaim goodness and serve but not be doing it for that reward. Such problem motives are easy to see in ourselves but I would be extremely hesitant to judge anyone else in that regard.
And what about movements? Does that lessen the impact whether public or not if lots of people are doing it? Is the first person who did the ice bucket challenge a better person than the one millionth? Does something’s goodness get lessened because ‘so and so challenged me, and I’m challenging her’? Is that the equivalent of a french pastry that starts out beautiful but the more hands it touches the more distasteful it becomes?
While the message certainly gets diluted, I don’t think it is so much so that it turns from a good thing to a bad thing. It’s just a good thing that took a little bit longer to get to some than others.
I had an interesting experience in college. For years from high school until my mission I seemed to always be in put in charge of running sub-4-santa programs whether it was for church, choir or school organizations.
One year we were assigned a latino family that lived in a small basement apartment. We sacrificed and gave them the best Christmas we could and gathered to give the presents and set up their tree. When we arrived at the small apartment the mother had made tamales (which are like my favorite thing!) and we had such a wonderful time. She had given of herself and so had we. It was a perfect Christmas moment.
That is why the next year I was so surprised when I shared the story with my co-chair and he looked very skeptically at me and said he would rather drop the items off anonymously. He felt there was less value in the giving when a ‘big to do’ was made of it. I remember it stinging a little bit because I felt he was calling into question the wonderful experience we had all had (much like the ALS critics). So, we did it anonymously that year and you know what it was a forgettable experience.
Maybe it is more noble to serve anonymously without any public acknowledgment but if it is forgettable and doesn’t bond you with other humans I’m not sure? Plus nobody is encouraged to pass the service on when it is boring. At least most of us need a little enthusiasm and sentimentality to get motivated to serve.
The other aspect to the ice bucket challenge is to remember that the internet at it’s best is a massive community. And really communities have been part of collectively doing good things together since the idea of community.
Think of your typical pancake breakfast to help a church or a firehouse. You are going to tell me that everyone there is attending for noble purposes? No just like with the ice bucket challenge some are attending to look good to others, some to socialize, some to eat, laugh, and some to encourage others to support the firehouse. All those reasons besides the eating can be seen in why people poured ice over their head online.
You could make the argument that nobody makes money off of going to a pancake breakfast; however, the number of people who make serious money on youtube are very small. So the idea that even celebrities are posting ice bucket videos to draw attention and make money for themselves and not the cause is pretty far fetched.
What about 5k runs that people participate in for a variety of reasons not just the cause? That’s still a good thing they are doing even if it isn’t a primary motivator. Would I be better off running by myself and donating in private? I don’t think so.
Some say they just want to show off how good of a person they are. Well, again given all of the ways people show off how bad a person they are is that such a bad thing? How pleasant was it for about a week to have TMZ and E! gawkers talking about something good and not rehabs, overdoses and fashion disasters.
I think it is also easy to call into question the motives of people we don’t know, especially if they are famous, while defending those we do. It’s the same reason why most people like and trust their local congressman or woman and yet are very cynical and critical of Congress as a whole. It’d be nice if we could give everyone the benefit of the doubt especially when what they are doing doesn’t hurt anyone or cost anyone anything.
To me it was very discouraging to look at videos and see tons of scathing comments full of criticisms of motives, wasting water and a million other flaws. Criticizing the movement as a whole is one thing but individuals who are trying in their mind to do something good it bums me out.
Charlie Sheen did a video where he dumped $10,000 over his head to show he was giving money vs just water. I am not a fan of Sheen but I thought it was cool but of course a million commenters (why I don’t normally read comments) said it wasn’t enough money or that he was a hypocrite, jerk, moron etc. Sigh…
So what does all this rambling mean? I don’t know. I’ve been thinking about this topic in my scripture study for weeks and have found evidence on both sides. Some scriptures seem to say to avoid large proclamations and others condemn those who hide their talents (or testimonies) under a bushel.
I certainly don’t think something is inherently less valuable because it is part of a movement or publicized. If that was the case no major religion would have value because they have always been part of large movements and publicized.
I guess in the end I prefer to be positive and assume the best of intentions. I choose to see the videos and smile and I would challenge you to as well. So what if a tiny minority is doing it solely for appearances. You can’t control others motivations. Look for the best in people and move on and even if it is for show it is something for show that did something good; whereas, a million other movements like gangnam style dance videos, were merely for fun (which has value).
And finally if you don’t like a movement nobody is forcing you to watch videos. Just make your donation in private and move on.
So that is my ramblings. What do you think? Is doing good publicly better or do you agree with my old college co-chair it is better to be private, anonymous and humbly serve?
And if you don’t think it did any actual good take a look at this
As I mentioned in my last post the General Conference of my church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is this weekend. We have one session left and it has been a wonderful 2 days of spiritual feasting. One thing that has made the experience more powerful for me is twitter. There are 2 twitter handles #LDSConf and #twitterstake that so far has been 99% faithful Saints pointing out quotes and insights as we all listen to talks.
Some of you might say ‘how can you concentrate on the message while focusing on twitter. I would argue that I focus on the message more because the learning experience is expanded. When I was a little girl I went to a special school- Reid School- in Salt Lake. As part of their curriculum my teachers at Reid always used more than one learning method to teach concepts. For instance, when studying multiplication the teacher spoke the sums, wrote them on the board and then we repeated out loud the answers. This created a visual, auditory and tactile learning experience.
I only attended Reid School for 6 months but it had a profound effect on my intellect and educational development. I always try to learn in multiple ways. When I was in college I used to call my mother and say ‘I just need to explain this to you’. Simply reading a textbook or listening to a lecture was not enough for me to absorb information, but speaking it out loud kept it in my mind.
When I follow General Conference on twitter I am reading, typing, listening and watching. Plus, with DVR I can go back and listen again to anything I might have missed. This is also just the first of many viewings. Sometimes I will have a pen and paper and other times nothing at all. Each time I learn something different; however, the twitter interactive experience can only happen while watching live and I think it is worth taking advantage of.
@Stan_Way on twitter posted this photo of his set up for watching Conference. I think it is awesome.
By the way #LDSConf was the 2nd most popular twitter handle yesterday. Sounds like I’m not the only person to get on the bandwagon!
Its amazing how quickly the videos from Conference become available. Yesterday I mentioned this talk by Elder Holland and it is already up on youtube. It is an instant classic and touched on many topics that I’ve been pondering lately. I also appreciated Elder Holland’s explanation of the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard- something I’ve always wondered about.
This talk by Elder Scott was also very moving. So touching how he thanks his wife who has passed on for her continual inspiration.
I would also like to say a public thank you to the recently released presiding bishopric and relief society presidency. Bishop Burton has served as presiding bishop since 1995. Sister Beck has been in either the Young Women’s presidency or Relief Society presidency since 2002. I’m grateful for their service.
I am particularly sorry to see Sister Barbara Thompson getting released. As a single member I always looked forward to her talks and perspective. She is also a terrific speaker and her talks have helped me in many ways.
Well, one more session to go!